The International Institute and the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) announce the establishment of the Islamic Studies Virtual Curriculum (ISVC). The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded U-M a $3 million grant to create a virtual curriculum among the member universities of the CIC (the Big Ten universities and the University of Chicago) and to develop and implement a collaborative, instructional program in Global Islamic Studies. Leveraging the existing distance learning infrastructure and longstanding area studies capacities of the CIC member schools, the consortium will coordinate courses and expertise currently located across the member schools, making it possible to offer a broader Islamic Studies curriculum.

Pauline Jones Luong, Director of the Islamic Studies Program (ISP) at U-M said, “It is difficult to overestimate the importance of a global approach to Islamic studies. Islam cannot be understood properly if viewed only in the context of particular countries or a single world region. The diversity within Islam and the expansiveness of the Islamic world also make it nearly impossible for any one of the academic institutions of the CIC to offer a complete core curriculum in Islamic studies.” 

The initiative will provide students at CIC member institutions a global perspective on Islam and the Muslim world and has the potential to influence teaching and research focusing on Islam worldwide. The curriculum will offer a broad set of courses that investigate Islam as a religion, as a civilization, as a variety of cultural traditions, and as the basis for political ideology. 

The virtual curriculum model harnesses two fundamental changes in the terrain of higher education: instruction that incorporates recent advances in digital technology, and intermural cooperation among multiple institutions. Creating such a consortium also ensures that particular Islamic studies courses are offered continually from year to year – something that is difficult for individual universities to do. The ISVC will rely on the existing CIC CourseShare program, and the International Institute and ISP will assume responsibility for administering the new initiative.


University of Michigan International Institute

The University of Michigan International Institute houses 18 centers and programs focused on world regions and global themes. The institute develops and supports international teaching, research, and public affairs programs to promote global understanding across the campus and to build connections with intellectuals and institutions worldwide. For more information, visit

Committee on Institutional Cooperation

The CIC is the nation's premier higher education consortium of top-tier research institutions, including the Big Ten Conference members and the University of Chicago. Through collaboration CIC members save money, share assets, and increase teaching, learning and research opportunities. Founded in 1958, CIC members engage in voluntary, sustained partnerships such as library collections and access collaborations; technology collaborations to build capacity at reduced costs; purchasing and licensing collaborations through economies of scale; leadership and development programs for faculty and staff; programs that allow students to take courses at other institutions; and study-abroad collaborations. For more information, please visit